Duke will travel to Charlottesville for its rematch with highly touted Virginia Tuesday. The Blue Zone breaks down three aspects of the game that could help the Blue Devils’ win again, solidifying themselves as the best team in the ACC.
1. Avoiding fouls
In their last matchup against Virginia, Duke committed 18 fouls, while Javin DeLaurier, Marques Bolden and Cam Reddish all found themselves in foul trouble by the end of the game. The Blue Devils were lucky that the Cavaliers shot just 64.7 percent from the line, failing to capitalize it on several key defensive errors by Duke. That won’t happen this time around, with Virginia shooting an impressive 76.1 percent from the line, good for 17th in the nation. If the Blue Devils struggle to avoid fouls again, the Cavaliers will more than likely punish them, earning free points against an otherwise-sound Duke defense.
2. Forcing turnovers
Tre Jones missed the January matchup, causing concern as the Duke backcourt was left to deal with Virginia guards Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter. While the Blue Devils held them to 32 points combined, they only forced two turnovers all game against the Cavaliers’ two most ball-dominant players. Should Guy or Hunter find their shooting strokes early this matchup (both are shooting above 43 percent from behind the arc), Duke will need to be able to apply more pressure. Jones’s return should help address that - he has averaged two steals per game and has emerged as one of the best defensive point guards in the nation. Still, should Guy or Hunter get going, Duke will need to apply enough pressure to force the Cavaliers into offensive miscues.
3. 3-point shooting
In the two teams’ last matchup, Duke only shot 14 percent from three. Fortunately, Virginia had a similarly poor shooting night, or else the Cavaliers could have easily pulled away. Duke has shot just 30.8 percent from behind the arc all season, while the Cavaliers have hit threes at a scorching 39.4 percent. The Blue Devils will need to have a stellar shooting night to be able to keep up with Virginia. Cam Reddish went off for 24 points last game against Boston College, and Duke will hope he continues that momentum into this heavily anticipated matchup against the current leaders of the ACC.